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Why short-term biochar application has no yield benefits; evidence from three field-grown crops

Why short-term biochar application has no yield benefits; evidence from three field-grown crops

Jay, Chantelle, Fitzgerald, Jean, Hipps, Neil and Atkinson, Christopher (2015) Why short-term biochar application has no yield benefits; evidence from three field-grown crops. Soil Use and Management, 31 (2). pp. 241-250. ISSN 0266-0032 (Print), 1475-2743 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/sum.12181)

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Abstract

This study determines the impact of biochar, as a supplement, on soil nutrient availability and yields for three crops within commercial management systems in a temperate environment. Central to the suggestion of biochar benefits is an increase in soil nutrient availability and here we test this idea by examining crop nutrient uptake, growth and yields of field-grown spring barley, strawberry and potato. Biochar produced from Castanea sativa wood, was incorporated into a sandy loam soil at 0, 20 and 50 t ha-1 as a supplement to standard crop management practice. Fertiliser was applied normally for each of the three crops. The biochar contained substantial concentrations of Ca, Mg, K, P, but only K occurred at high concentration in water soluble analysis. The large concentration of extractable K resulted in a significant increase of extractable K in soil. The increased availability of K in biochar-treated soil, with the exception of spring barley grain and the leaves of strawberry during the second year, did not induce greater tissue concentrations. In general, biochar application rate had little influence on the tissue concentration of any nutrient, irrespective of crop or sampling date. There was, however, evidence of a biochar-induced increase in tissue Mo and a decrease in Mn, in strawberry, which could be linked to soil alkalinisation as could the reduction in extractable soil P. These experiments show a single rotational application of biochar to soil had no effect on the growth or harvest yield of any of these field-grown crops. Heavy metal analysis revealed small concentrations in the biochar (i.e. <10 µg g-1 biochar), with the largest levels for Ni, V and Cu.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of Why short-term biochar application has no yield benefits; evidence from three field-grown crops, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sum.12181. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving
Uncontrolled Keywords: biochar, harvest yield, soil, nutrients, hordeum vulgare, fragaria X ananassa, solanum tuberosum
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2017 20:29
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/12893

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